Healthy Diet

Your puppy depends on a number of different nutrients for his health. This article discusses what they are and how they work

Your puppy depends on a number of different nutrients in order to be healthy. Each nutrient fulfils certain needs, so the body has to get them in a specific quantity and in the right ratio. The need for energy suppliers or minerals will differ enormously according to your dog’s age and activity level. This is why it’s nearly impossible to get the “right mixture” of nutrients with home-made food. So a commercially prepared puppy or dog food is best.

Here’s a list of the important nutrients your dog needs for a long and healthy life:


Water is the most important nutrient for your dog. His body consists of 70% water, and each day he loses liquid, which must be replaced. Water is indispensable for many processes of metabolism. A dish of fresh water should always be available to your dog. Milk, on the other hand, may cause diarrhoea.


Proteins are the basic components of cells. The body needs protein, especially to build muscles. Meat and fish contain a lot of protein; however, some plants such as soybeans are also rich in protein. By the way, a dog’s need for protein is only half as much as that of a cat. This is why cats and dogs should not eat each other’s commercially prepared foods.


Fat is an important supplier of energy. Certain vitamins are “fat-soluble”, which means the body can only absorb them in conjunction with fat. Special fatty acids are important for the health of your dog’s skin and coat. But be careful; too much fat means extra pounds for dogs as well as humans.


Carbohydrates are important fuels. They are found in such starchy foods as rice, grain and pasta, and in sugar. Carbohydrates supply the body with energy, which is then very quickly converted to output. Vegetable carbohydrates have to be cooked to enable your dog to digest them and thus to use them.


Minerals are substances that are present in different body structures. Calcium, for instance, is an important component of bones and teeth, phosphorus can be found in muscles, iron in the red blood cells. Many deficiencies are caused by a lack of certain minerals. The right calcium-phosphorus ratio plays an important role in growing puppies.


Vitamins maintain the functions of metabolism. Vitamin A is important for sight, Vitamin B for nerves, Vitamin D for bones, Vitamin E protects the skin, and Vitamin K supports blood coagulation. Only Vitamin C doesn’t have to be supplied in food for dogs and cats, as they are able to synthesize it.

Dietary fibre

Dietary fibre is the term for those components of food that are excreted undigested. It supports a healthy digestion, and can be found mainly in vegetables. A lack of dietary fibre leads to constipation.

Count the calories

The key to your pooch’s perfect health is right nutritional balance. Here are various food options and their nutritional values.

Types of prepared dog food

Prepared food can be classified on the basis of its percent moisture as dry food (5-12%), semi-moist food (15-30%) and canned food (70-85%). Dry food?:?They are generally rich in carbohydrates with crude fat at 5-10%. Different types of dry foods for different physiological status are available. They have long shelf life, provided they are properly stored. The concentration of nutrients is high and feed intake is less.

Semi-moist food?:?Semi-moist foods are most acceptable to dogs and moisture content is generally between 15 and 30%. They can be stored for several months with reduced water activity. (Water activity is a measure of the water that is available for bacterial or fungal growth in or on the surface of the food. It is measured as relative humidity at equilibrium and most bacteria will not grow at levels below 0.83 and yeast below 0.6. The low water activity is achieved by the inclusion in the recipes of humectants such as sugar, salt, propylene glycol or glucose which ‘tie-up’ the water).

Canned food : Most convenient to use, highly attractive to dogs, canned products are primarily meat or fish based product or meat, fish and cereal products. These foods are reliable, safe and convenient to serve. They are highly palatable, particularly when carbohydrate is less. Most canned foods are balanced foods with good digestibility. Nutrient density is low because of high moisture content.

Home-cooked food

In developing countries like ours, pets are fed with home made foods. It is therefore essential to ensure that the dietary nutrient requirements are met through such feeding practice. Judicious inclusion of appropriate food items to supplement deficit nutrients can overcome nutritional deficiency disorders and support healthier life. It is imperative to note that salt needs to be supplemented in dog food. However, there are certain skin conditions wherein your vet would have advised to avoid salt, as it would aggravate those conditions.

Common food stuff used for pets

Meat and meat by-products?: Raw lean meat contains 67-70% of water, 20-22% protein and 2-9% fat. Offal meat like liver, kidney, spleen, etc are low in calcium with adverse calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:15 to 1:30, but are deficit in Vitamins A and D (liver and kidney are exception). Liver is a good source of B complex vitamin with good quality protein but has low iodine content. Fish contain 2% fat with composition similar to lean meat. However, fatty fish contain 5-18% fat. Fish has good quality protein but Vitamin A and D are absent. It has high iodine content with better calcium to phosphorus ratio.

Dairy products?:?Dairy products like cream, skimmed milk, whey, cheese, etc are generally palatable but the lactose (disaccharide) present in dairy product is not well digested as secretion of enzyme lactase is minimal. Also, dairy products are poor in iron and Vitamin D. Hence dairy products in dog food should not be included at high level.

Eggs?:?They are good source of iron, B2, folic acid, B12, Vitamin A and D but lack Vitamin C and carbohydrate: They are poor source of vitamin Niacin.

Cereals and cereal by-products?:?Cereals like barley, oats, rice, wheat, corn, are used as source of energy. They usually contain 12% moisture, 9-14% protein, 2-5% fat and about 70-80% carbohydrate as starch. Wheat, oats and barley have a higher protein content and less fat than rice and maize. In terms of quality of protein, there is little variation among cereals. Cereals are rich in Vitamin B1 and Niacin. The phosphorus is in the form of phytase, hence not available to the extent of 70% to pets.

Fat and oils?:?Butter, lard, tallow are examples of edible fats and oils. The essential fatty acids Archidonic acid is present in small amount. Fats and oil have high energy density. Oils do not have mineral/protein and are rich in vitamin E. Dogs like animal fats as they add flavour and palatability to other foods. Fat used for deep fat frying should not be used for feeding as it may contain peroxides and other toxic materials.

Other animal by-products?: Meat meal, meat and bone meal are examples in this group. Protein quality is variable depending upon the raw material and extent of heat treatment. Ash and mineral content are also variable. Sterilized bone meal is commonly used, which contains 32% calcium and 14% phosphorus.
Vegetables?:?Vegetables can be classified into three kinds, considering their use as foods: whole plant or leaves and stems (e.g. cabbage, cauliflower – not of much feeding value to dogs and cats, high in water, fibre and good source of B vitamins, but cooking destroys B vitamins), roots and tubers (e.g. potatoes, carrots, turnip, tapioca – are rich in starch but cannot be fed raw to dogs and cats) and peas and beans (e.g. green peas, broad beans, soybean – are rich in protein, good source of B complex vitamins. Anti-nutritional factors like Trypsin inhibitors, Heamagglutinin are present in soyabean but are destroyed by heat treatment and produces flatus or intestinal gas flatulence).

So, to keep your canine healthy, opt for a perfect nutritionally balanced diet.

(Prof Dr. V .Balakrishnan, M.V.Sc., Ph.D., is specialized in animal nutrition and heading the Department of Animal Nutrition, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai. He has established an ultra modern mineral laboratory and has devised indigenous RUSITEC (Rumen Simulation Technique instrument).)

Treats: a way to good health

Treats become a way for owners to interact with their pets beyond their main meal. Dr. Pradeep Rana answeres Faqs on treats from a vet’s perspective

The benefits of treats towards a dog’s health are immense. Treats not only form a means for interaction but many dogs who suffer from debilitation are recommended treats that consist a lot of vitamins and proteins. The basic source of treats varies but they mostly contain nutrition and flavour or are raw hides. Problems like suffering from weakness and calcium deficiency in pups can be resolved by giving the correct amount of supplements in form of treats. Dogs normally do not like the taste of medicine and many owners have to resort to force-feeding their pets. Here, treats play a very vital role.
Q : What are the benefits of treats?
Dr. Rana : Treats benefit in more ways than one. Mostly treats help in building antioxidant, chondroprotective and oral/dental efficacy.
Antioxidants come in treats, which contain Vitamins C and E. They help to build immune system which is very important to fight diseases in dogs and help in better reaction to canine medicines. They also help build high level of energy.
Chondroprotective is beneficial for joints since they have high level of glucosamine and chondroitin. This is found naturally in chicken, beef and eggs. Joint and bones requirements are different. Joint treats are made to lubricate joints in old dogs who suffer from joint pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin helps to make the cartilage in the joint whereas bones treats are rich in calcium, which is an important requirement in growing pups for forming healthy strong bones and teeth. On an average, a dog loses glycogen, electrolytes and antioxidants like humans, which lead to fatigue and exhaustions especially during summers. Carbohydrates, electrolytes and Vitamin E and C found in treats can optimise stamina by replacing the added nutrition in his body.
A normal Indian household have dogs on home-cooked diet which are soft food giving rise to many dental/oral problems, which give rise to gingivitis, foul smell which then lead to digestive problems. Hence dental bones and chews is a ‘must’ recommended for dogs.
Q : What are the nutritional benefits of treats?
Dr. Rana : The nutritional benefits go like this. For bones, calcium and vitamins are important. For eyes, treats must contain Vitamin A while for a healthy coat, the treat should be rich in oil and fats containment. Dental tartar leads to many liver problems, hence dental treats and treats that are low in carbs should be given till the problem is solved.
Q : What kind of treats are good for dogs?
Dr. Rana : Treats should not be changed often, unless the requirement of the dog changes. If the pet is suited to a certain treat or likes it, much variation or experiment should never be done. Treats are present in a large variation but what the owner should look at in terms of treating for health benefits should be as per the requirements of the dog. If you have a pup, give him treats for protein, if he’s a debilities old dog, give him soft treats for joints. Similarly, dogs suffering from bad oral hygiene should be given dental treats.
Q : What ingredients are mostly found in treats?
Dr. Rana : Chicken, cr de protein, crude fat, crude fibre, grounded rice, soyabean
meal, grounded oats, barley, corn syrup, glycerine,
gelatin, edible fatty acids,
dry cheese, molasses,
artificial flavours, minerals, vitamins, supplements, biotin supplements, sodium, etc.
Q : What indigents should an owner look at before buying treats?
Dr. Rana : Calcium, minerals and other requirements in a healthy canine are made more palatable with chicken and other flavours are added to make dogs like and have them. A treat should always be given in certain fix amount or else
it will definitely lead to overweight or obese pets since treats are rich in proteins and fats. A treat containing high carbohydrates tends to make a dog put on weight. You should always look for a treat that is easy to digest. Pets react to total calorie consumption so that should always be kept in mind. Totally calorie consumption given to the pet works as : Daily diet = Food + treat + supplements.
If the nutritional requirements of the dogs are kept in mind, then this cycle shall never give rise to overweight pets.
Q : What ingredients in form of treats could be harmful to pets?
Dr. Rana : Chocolates are a big mistake. Treats in small quantity are good. A biscuit is better than “roti” since they might start replacing it with their normal diet. Natural vegetables treats like veggies or fruits can be given in very small amount like half a piece of apple. Some dogs can be allergic to certain food like milk or meat, hence all owners should read carefully before giving a new treat to the pet. Look out for the content chart to avoid any unnecessary casualties. Allergy information are also given on the packet of the treat most of the time.
Q : What are the feeding recommendations?
Dr. Rana : Depends on the treat, instructions are given on the packet itself. Small treats can be given 2-3 per 10-lbs. of body weight per day.
Treats were earlier based solely on hard baked biscuits. But as more and more variety are available, a responsible owner should understand the connection between nutrition and health. Benefit of treat on nutrition is to add the missing ‘factor’.
(Dr. Pradeep Rana is a well- renowned vet in Delhi. He has
his veterinary degree from College of Vet Sciences, Hebbal, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He is an expert in solving queries and curing pets.)

Caring for dog with food sensitivities

If your dog has an intolerance or reaction to certain food ingredients, you can work with your vet to discover what that ingredient is and then change your dog’s diet. Here’s what to know about food sensitivity.

What is food allergy?
Veterinarians estimate that food allergies cause 1% of all skin problems in dogs. Other allergic skin problems, such as allergy to flea bites, are more common. No-one knows exactly what percentage of gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting or diarrhoea, are caused by food allergies, as pet owners often change the food they feed their dog once one type of food is tolerated. Pets who have itching skin as well as gastrointestinal problems are more likely to have food allergies.
The exact way a food ingredient in the diet causes the symptoms of food allergy is also still a mystery. Animal specialists suspect that abnormal amounts or types of protein particles from food are absorbed into the bloodstream from the digestive tract. This causes antibodies and inflammatory chemicals to be released from the cells of the digestive tract and skin, a process called “Hypersensitivity.” The skin and digestive tract may then become sensitive to food which contains that particular ingredient. Sensitivity reactions such as itching of the skin, vomiting or diarrhoea, may occur within minutes to hours, or even several days later.

Which foods cause food allergy?
Any food ingredient you’ve been feeding your dog can cause hypersensitivity reactions. The protein part of the food is the most likely culprit, often in foods such as beef, eggs, wheat gluten and lamb.
Some animals develop diarrhoea when they consume milk, although this is not a true allergy; it’s described as an intolerance, as a hypersensitivity reaction is not part of the picture.

Diagnosing food allergy
Skin irritation and scratching can result from causes other than food allergy. That’s why it’s important that you carefully consider other causes, such as allergies to fleas. If your dog’s skin damage is severe and is making him irritable and miserable, your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs until the “itch-scratch” cycle ends.

The elimination diet
To get to the bottom of the problem, your vet may ask you to list all the foods in your dog’s diet, including treats, bones and table scraps. Your vet will look through this list for foods your dog hasn’t previously eaten and he or she will then prescribe a nutritionally balanced diet that probably won’t cause allergic reactions in your dog. This type of diet is called a “selected protein diet.”
Feeding your dog only the elimination diet for the prescribed time is the best diagnostic procedure to find out if your dog has a food allergy. It may take up to 6 or even 10 weeks for the itching caused by the allergy to completely disappear, so it’s important for the elimination diet to be nutritionally complete to prevent nutritional deficiencies and ill health. Your dog may be showing gastrointestinal signs such as diarrhoea, but these usually go away within a few days.

The food challenge
To find out which protein sources your dog is allergic to, your vet may recommend testing different protein sources once your dog’s clinical signs have improved. The way you do this test is to introduce suspected food items to the diet in small quantities—one new food ingredient per week. If the itching or diarrhoea your dog previously experienced comes back, you’ve likely succeeded in your sleuth work and discovered an offending food ingredient. If, however, you don’t want to try the food challenge and your dog is happy on the elimination diet, you may continue to feed him these foods – as long as they represent a complete and balanced diet.

Guidelines for care and attention

  • If your dog has been prescribed drugs, make sure you administer them exactly as prescribed.
  • Make sure your dog has access to a plentiful supply of clean, fresh water. Eliminate other fluids, such as milk, at least while your pet is on the elimination diet.
  • When feeding your dog the elimination diet, give him absolutely no other foods.
  • You may need to separate pets in the household during feeding times.
  • You may need to feed your dog the elimination diet for up to10 weeks before all the allergic signs disappear. Be patient!
  • Watch your dog closely for remission or a decrease in severity of signs during the elimination diet period and let your vet know about any improvements or reactions to specific foods.

I’m loving it!

Worldwide, pet owners are willing to spend more to satisfy their pets and bring them joy, as they are a part of their life. Treats form a major part of their spending as we all know that our dogs simply love them.
Delight their taste buds
Alike humans, dogs also need and love the occasional delicious helpings in the form of treats. These treats can be anything ranging from readymade treats in various sizes and flavours to home-made ones. Though we do not suggest you to overindulge your pet with treats, but an occasional splurge is not harmful.
Importance of treats
Treats not only delight your dog but they can be used for positive reinforcement dog training as well. They can be used as rewards for good behaviour and form a nice way to bond with your dog. Kong toys filled with treats can be used to keep your dog busy and mentally stimulate him. Besides, many treats are even healthy for your dog. For example, some treats can control plaque and tartar in dogs.
Count the calories
The obvious mantra for healthy and fit body is to count the calories of what you eat and the same principle applies to our dog as well. Obesity can cause health problems like arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. It is advisable to use low-calorie dog treats. Another way is to break larger treats into smaller portions and give one portion at one time.
Also, do not feed table scraps to your dog as they may be high in calories and low in vitamins and nutrients. It will also encourage your dog to beg.
Treat for a purpose
Make the treating occasion special, use treats as a reward.
Tips for feeding treats

  • Do not feed the treat just before meals.
  • Treats should not form more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet.
  • Do not supplement treats for your core dog food.
  • Break up large-size treats in smaller portions to make them last longer.
  • If your dog is on a special prescription diet, consult your vet first.
  • Always buy treats made with natural ingredients.
  • Use treats formulated with supplements like glucosamine which can help maintain joint health andeven relieve symptoms of arthritis.
  • If your dog is allergic to certain foods, ensure that  these ingredients are not there in the treats.

Different kinds of treats
There are many international and national brands available in the market, in different types, styles and sizes.
International treats
Dental treats
Treats that reduce plaque
and tartar, freshen breath and clean teeth.
Dried natural snacks
Gravy or sauces
Pourable liquids in different flavours like chicken, beef or bacon.
Ice-creams or frozen treats
Similar to human frozen deserts, available in cups or push-up pops.
Made into bacon-like ribbon in many protein types, flavours and lengths.
Similar to corn puffs, available in various shapes and flavours.
Iced or glazed biscuits
Biscuits coated with icing
or glazes.
Cuts of meat
Soft moist pieces in the shape of meat-cuts.
Sugary candies with lots
of digest to promote high palatability.
Soft moist chews with high levels of glucosamine or chondrotin to support joint health.
With high fibre content to increase satiety.
Booda Velvet Chews
Healthy corn-starch-based bones.
Rawhide dogchews and chewing bones
Bones and natural chews
for teething.
Kong Stuff’N treats
Designed for stuffing Kong toys.
Pup Corn Treats
Crunchy low-fat snack in humorous doggy shapes.
Chicken Tenders
Roasted 100% natural chicken breast fillets.
Crunchy Treats
Healthy morsels of assorted chicken, beef or salmon flavours, wrapped in a crunchy outer shell of wheat.
Freeze-dried Liver Snax
Yummy treat prepared from fresh whole liver.
Chip Cookies
Natural rawhide chips, which will water your canine’s mouth.
Canine Cuisine Cookies
Delicious cookies for all dogs.
Treats available in India
Denta Stix and Schmackos
Super Dog
Rawhides in all shapes and sizes ranging from balls, shoes, salami slices, kebab, kebab rolls, normal rolls with fillings of chicken, etc.
Energy Bar
An energy-giving snack
Breath and tartar control treats, which contains mint and eucalyptus. Natural breath freshener.
Bow Wow
Sticks in different flavours like chicken and cheese.
Dental treats which can remove plaque and tartar.
Pnutz and Nut R Nipz
They are both peanut flavour dog treats.
Hip Chips
They are available in smoky cheddar and bacon flavours.
Roberts & Thompson
Natural raw bones for adult dogs and are free of preservatives.
Total Big Beef
One of the few beef flavoured snack in India, with a soft texture and unique shape.
Chicken, beef and natural flavour treats.
Lamb Snack
Tartar control snack.
2nd wind large energy snack
An energy bar.
Rawhides and flavoured treats in chicken, mutton and eggs available in different shape and sizes. Also available mutton flavour munchies bone, bow shaped bone, smoked pork chips and ball shaped treats filled with raw bone powder.
Jerry’s Natural Health Treats
Nutritious liver treats with vitamins.
Sleepy Strap
Bacon, liver, beef and
chicken treats.
Jer High
Hot dogs in chicken flavour.
Rawhides to pamper canines.
Doggy Fun
Natural Cuisine Tartar Treats.
Asian Diet Products
Choostixs in a variety of flavours like chicken, beef, natural, parsley, spearmint, etc. Other treats like tripes, and chicken filled natural bones also offered.
One Earth Dog Treats
Biscuits made with all natural premium ingredients, proteins, vitamins and minerals, in three flavours: honey molasses, brewers yeast and garlic and peanut butter.
Yogies Dog Treats
Fun and tasty treats in peanut butter and French vanilla flavours.
Healthy Dog Treats
Faithful Famous’ dog biscuits and snacks, available in veg and non-veg flavours. Also offered Cocktail non-veg dog biscuits and stick rolls for tartar control, in original chicken.
Glenands, Crunch, Kart, Naughty
Dog biscuits in variety of range and flavours.
An anytime snax
8 in 1 Dental health mints.
Source : Petland (Defence Colony, New Delhi), Windsor (Khan Market, New Delhi) and KPS My Pet Shop (Mumbai).


Nutrition works wonders

The quality of food makes a lot of difference to your pet’s health. The strength of your pet’s immune system, his resistance to disease and his quality of life all depend on the food that he eats.

Commonly home-made diet of meat and carbohydrate may be deficient of certain nutrients required for growth, good health, lustrous coat, strong bones and teeth. The simplest method of meeting nutritional requirement of dogs is to feed a fixed formula, complete and balanced commercial diet, designed and appropriately tested for dogs. Contrarily, a balanced home-made food may also be formulated.
Start early
Normal birth weight of pups depends on breed and ranges from 120-500 g. The growth rate is rapid in the first few months at an average of 2-4 g/day/kg of their anticipated adult weight. The puppies should be allowed to suckle mother’s milk within 10-12 hours of birth at least till age of four weeks. Early mother’s milk (Colostrum) has necessary antibodies and nutrients which protect the puppy initially. The puppies can be weaned from the mother by 4-6 weeks when they start eating food on their own. If the mother is not providing milk or mother’s milk is insufficient, puppies can be fed with commercially available pre-weaning food.
Feeding puppies
After weaning, small breed puppies should be fed 4-5 times and large breed puppies 3-4 times a day if they are fed with home-made food and 3-4 times for small breeds and 2-3 times for large breeds if they are fed with dry food. Dry puppy feed can be initially moistened with hot water
or milk for a  few weeks, if required. As the pup grows, he can be fed 3 times per day till 1 year and 2 times after 1 year.
Count the calories
Dogs require sufficient energy for optimal body weight, maintenance, pregnancy and lactation. Out of the six nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and fats provide energy while vitamins, minerals and water do not. Caloric requirement of the growing puppy per kg weight is more compared to adult dog. Energy requirement of dogs is ~40 kcal/kg body weight for adults, ~120kcal/kg for puppies and ~200kcal/kg for lactating females.
More protein for pups
Healthy adult dogs need protein ~3g of high biological value per kg body wt/day. Egg and meat have protein of
high biological value and digestibility compared to vegetable protein. Optimal diet should contain 22-25% protein for growing puppies and
8-15% for adult dogs. Most of the commercial foods contain protein of both cereal and meat source of 75-90% digestibility.
Fat essentials
Apart from providing calories, fat also improves the palatability of the food. Fats serve as carrier for fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. Dogs have a dietary requirement of lenoleic acid (Omega 6), an essential fatty acid which is richly found in corn, safflower, sunflower, soya and evening primrose oil. Deficiency of linoleic acid may cause scaly, lusterless coat and reproductive disorders. Omega 3 fatty acids like linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play a vital role in development of cardiovascular system, nervous system and retinal function. Linolenic acid is rich in flaxseed oil, soya oil etc, where as EPA and DHA are found in a variety of fish, especially fatty sea fish. Dogs’ diet should contain 5-15% fat for adults and 8-20% for pups.
Minerals in right ratio
Apart from calories, a dog’s diet should be supplemented with essential mineral nutrients. Major minerals required are calcium and phosphorus and these minerals are interrelated. Too less or too much of these minerals lead to bone abnormalities. Calcium and phosphorus deficiency along with low levels of Vitamin D3 results in rickets, soft bones and bend in the bones of the forelimbs due to the weight of the dog. Calcium and phosphorus in right balance is essential for formation of strong bones and teeth and Vitamin D3 is essential for absorption of Ca and P into the bones and teeth.
Minerals like Zn, Fe, Mg, Mn, Se, Na and Cl etc are essential in dogs’ diet in minor levels. Zinc improves growth rate and metabolism, maintains integrity of skin and hair, assist bone and cartilage development. Selenium, as an antioxidant, support protective action of Vitamin E by detoxifying peroxides and improves fertility and immunity. Iron prevents iron deficient anemia and Sodium and Chlorine helps in maintaining electrolyte balance. Usage of organic mineral supplements is advisable as they are more bio-available.
Vitamins are important
Apart from these nutrients, dogs’ diet may be supplemented with fat soluble vitamins  (Vitamins D and E) and B complex vitamins for normal health and growth.
Taking care of the elderly and obese dogs
Large breeds, especially aged and fat dogs, may require supplementation of Gluco-samine and Chondratin sulphate which helps in nursing of joint and bone problems. The dog food may be supplemented with yeast derivative mannan oligo-saccharides to promote healthy intestinal micro flora and to reduce pathogenic organisms in gut and these mannans are also a rich source of protein and B-Complex vitamins.
Thus keeping all these nutrients in mind, ensure that you feed a proper balanced diet to your pet.

Tips for feeding  

  • Dry foods are available with different kibble size for different growth stages which help in jaw development, maintaining healthy gums and teeth and also satisfies the puppy’s chewing needs.
  • Water is most important nutrient and at any given time, the dog should have access to adequate clean and fresh drinking water.
  • There is precise impact of environmental temperature on food intake which is more in winter as compared to summer.
  • Control the calories so that the dog is not malnourished and  he is slim and healthy. Excessive calories leads to more weight which causes shorter life span and joint problems in older dogs.

(Dr. Nagesh Reddy, M.V.Sc, is a full-time practitioner at J.P. Nagar, Bangalore and he can be contacted at +91 9886799989 or e-mail at

Learning more about neutering and spaying in dogs

Neutering and spaying of dogs is a very specialised and sensitive operation, as it sterilises the pet so that he/she cannot reproduce. There are many aspects involved in the process, and Dr. Vasanth M. Shetty, PhD, FISVS, elucidates the various queries and fine points that most owners would like to know. Dogs are considered to be the oldest friend of humans and the most trustworthy companions. Sometimes, the changing hormone levels in dogs, often leads them to behave strangely and here neutering and spaying of dogs comes into picture. This procedure also helps in controlling pet population.

What is ‘neutering’ and ‘spaying’?

Neutering and spaying are surgical procedures that make a pet incapable of reproducing. This procedure in females is referred to as ‘spaying’ and in males as castration or ‘orchidectomy’. However, the term ‘neutering’ is loosely used for castration in male dogs.


Both ‘neutering’ (males) and ‘spaying’ (females) are surgical procedures requiring general anaesthesia. A qualified veterinary surgeon would be able to do this procedure on a routine basis. In females, there are three basic organs of reproduction?–?a pair of ovaries, uterine horns and the uterus. The female dogs may be rendered sterile by surgical removal of either ovaries or uterine horns. Neutering involves removal of testicles in a male dog. For ‘spaying’ or ‘neutering,’ the dog needs to go on an overnight fast, and then be operated upon and sent home the same day. Skin sutures are removed seven days after surgery and routine wound care is required during this period. Most dogs are willing to eat within 24 hours after operation and resume their normal activities in a couple of days.

Time factor

Even though dogs can be neutered/spayed at any age, from medical perspective, spaying is best done at the end of first heat cycle, thereafter best at three to five months after each heat cycle. Neutering in males can be done between 6 to 12 months of age or any time thereafter. However, care should be taken not to spay when the female is in heat period, since there is an increased risk of haemorrhage as a post-surgical complication.


Neutering and spaying offer immense advantages to the pet, the guardian and the community. These include?:

  • Neutered dogs have less desire to mark their territory and fight for territories, hence less susceptible to fights, bites and the resultant diseases like rabies etc.
  • They have decreased roaming desire, in turn less chances of a traffic accident. A study has shown that 80% of the dogs involved in traffic accidents are intact males.
  • Neutering avoids contact with stray female dogs in heat, which would cause disease and parasitism.
  • Chances of disease conditions such as prostatic hypertrophy and cancer and penile tumours are considerably reduced after neutering, and chances of testicular cancer is completely eliminated.
  • There will be a general improvement in health. The dogs are less likely to fight and end up living a longer, healthier life.
  • Aggression and vicious temperament is controlled.
  • It reduces behaviour such as mounting on toys, furniture, people or other animals.
  • Many dogs become calmer, less moody and would be more devoted family pets.
  • It is a small step in control of dog population, which helps in reducing the number of homeless animals.

However, it must be noted that the operation makes them ineligible for certain sporting events. It is also an irreversible process and such animals cannot be bred in future.

(Dr Vasanth M Shetty is a PhD in Surgery & Radiology, and was awarded FISVS in 2003 for his significant contribution in the field of surgery & radiology. He was awarded “Best veterinarian” for the year 2001, by Karnataka Veterinary Association, Bangalore. Presently, he is Professor & Head, Dept of Surgery at Veterinary College, Hebbal, Bangalore. He can be contacted at: Office: 080-2341 1483 extn.213, Residence: 080-2333 1323, Clinic: 080-2331 3840, Mobile: 98800 29906, Fax: 080-2341 0509 or e-mail:

Nutrition needs of your German Shepherd

German Shepherd is perhaps the world’s most popular utility dog. Their robustness, rusticity and intelligence, steals everyone’s hearts. They convey a sense of strength, intelligence and litheness. They radiate a harmonious sense of nobility and self-confidence that commands respect. Nevertheless while rearing a German Shepherd, their specific characteristics should be kept in mind and accordingly a well-balanced nutritious diet should be given to them.

GSDs have an established digestive sensitivity:

A higher intestinal permeability, a lower digestive capacity and a greater fermentative activity among large dogs are many factors that may explain their lower digestive tolerance. Hence, it is important to ensure maximum digestive security among German Shepherds through nutrition. Proper diet ensures digestion and absorption of nutrients and fermentation of undigested matter. It also helps in protecting and nourishing the intestinal and colonic mucosa, limiting fermentative activity and improving the consistency of stools.

GSD’s immune system put to test everyday:

German Shepherd is a utility dog par excellence, as a guide dog, rescue dog, police dog or defence dog. These varied chores put his immune system under severe pressure every day. The German Shepherd is among the breeds showing a weak plasmatic concentration of immunoglobulin A (IgA), which increases the risk of infection. IgA are antibodies specialised in the defence of mucosae and the skin against infectious agents and are essential ingredients of secretions such as saliva, tears and intestinal juices.

Sensitive skin of a GSD:

The dog’s skin pH is one of the highest among mammals (an average of 7.4). Among the canine species, the skin pH appears to vary according to breed.

An alkaline skin is more conducive to bacterial proliferation than an acidic skin. A German Shepherd’s relative deficiency in IgA (Immunoglobin A) and the high alkalinity of his skin can explain his sensitivity to bacterial skin diseases, such as pyoderma. So, it is essential to reinforce the integrity of the skin barrier, while preserving natural beauty of his coat, through nutrition.

The epidermis forms a barrier that limits water loss by the body and prevents its penetration by allergens. This barrier role is made possible by ceramides, which are lipids that form ‘cement’ that bonds the epidermis cells. The synergic action of a supply of various vitamins (choline, nicotinamide, inositol, pyridoxine and panthotenic acid) and amino acids (proline and histidine) augments the synthesis of ceramides, which helps limit water loss and prevent the penetration by bacteria or any allergens (pollen, dust mites).

GSD’s bone structure is under great daily stress:

The German Shepherd’s exceptional morphology enables him to perform as well in his work or walking with his master, as in the most diverse and most demanding of sporting disciplines: ring, mondioring, protection, campagne, and not forgetting search & rescue of course. This means that the joints of this versatile dog are put under great stress. Hip, elbow and knee dysplasia, cauda equina and articular osteochondroses are unfortunately not rare in this sporting dog. With time, his cartilages will be damaged and this wear and tear may gradually give way to osteoarthritis when the dog grows older. This means that it is essential to help prevent joint complaints and associated inflammatory mechanisms through nutrition.

Royal Canin’s made to measure kibble:

Royal Canin offers a nutritional programme for a German Shepherd of all ages. For 2-15 month old puppies, there is MAXIjunior, which offers a very high digestive security which ensures equilibrium of intestinal flora and regular digestive transit. German Shepherd 24 is for the adult dog, which is exclusively formulated taking into account his digestive sensitivity, reinforcement of natural defences, protection of the skin and the coat and articular capital. The advantages of feeding this food includes:

  • Guaranteeing optimal palatability : Born with an exceptional olfactory acuity, a German Shepherd is able to detect up to 5,00,000 different odours, compared with the mere 4,000 that humans can distinguish. His exceptional nose makes guaranteed optimal appetence of the food essential to satisfy his very high demands. The food is formulated with premium quality ingredients and exclusive aromas, based on a secret recipe.
  • Improving oral hygiene: The dog’s teeth are brushed mechanically as he chews, which helps limit the accumulation of tartar. This effect is reinforced by the presence of chelating agents of calcium, which render calcium unavailable for the mineralisation of dental plaque and so the formation of tartar.
  • Helping to prevent gastric dilatation-volvulus: After a meal, the stomach can achieve a volume of 3-4 litres in a 15 kg dog and up to 7 litres in a large dog. This predisposition to distension, associated to a relative laxity of the stomach’s means of attachment to the abdomen, means that the dog is predisposed to the gastric dilatation-volvulus. This complaint is fatal in 30% of cases. So, it is essential to feed the German Shepherd very digestible food that can be digested fast and efficiently.
  • Protecting joints: The food also protects joints and prevents or slows down osteoarthritis. It has an extra source of chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine, the combined action of which helps stimulate the regeneration of articular cartilage and slows down cartilage degeneration.

Nutrition needs of your Lab

If you have a Labrador Retriever or are planning to have one, then it is extremely important to take care of his nutrition, which not only helps him keep in shape, but also keeps his coat healthy and shiny.


Many of us are fascinated with a Labrador Retriever, owing to his placid and lovely temperament, besides his distinct abilities to be a disaster and guide dog. But, only few of us are able to rear a beautiful and proportionate Lab. The problem lies with nutrition. Only a well-balanced nutritious food can help your Lab grow to his breed characteristics. Let us see what are the specific characteristics of a Lab and how proper nutrition can help maintain them.

Unique structure of the Lab coat

Structure of the Lab’s coat is unique. His hair is strong, dense and short, which means the Lab can endure even ice-cold water. When retrieving in the countryside, Labs have to negotiate bushes and thickets that can cut them. Their dense fur is a great help in preventing lesions. The water glides over the coat, as it glides over the feathers of a duck, hence they are less wet than other breeds after a swim. They produce more sebum than other breeds. Sebum is the oil secretion of the sebaceous glands that waterproofs the hair. Labs sometimes develop a hypersensitivity to specific allergens such as dust mites or pollen. This condition is called atopy.

Labs have a natural predisposition to excess weight

Compared with other dogs of similar weight, the Lab’s body mass consists of less muscle mass and more fat. Epidemiological studies show that he is among the breeds with an increased risk of obesity. They often tend to be greedy. That makes it essential to maintain a proper exercise regime and to follow ration recommendations.

A protein diet promotes lean mass, favouring muscles over fat. Specific nutrients play a significant part in ensuring that dogs do not put on unwelcome excess pounds.

Common ailment: arthritis

In expending energy, the Lab puts his joints under a huge amount of stress. In time, the cartilage is damaged and this wear and tear may lead to arthritis, as the animal gets older. Maintaining an optimum weight is the best way to relieve joints. Cartilage is a water-cushioned shock absorber. When a joint moves, the coefficient of friction is equivalent to ice moving against ice. It ‘glides’ effortlessly. In time, this friction damages the cartilage. The major supplementary source of glucosamine and chondroitin (1000 mg) helps preserve a well-hydrated cartilage matrix. Chondroitin sulphate inhibits the action of enzymes that cause the destruction of cartilage. Its high water retaining capacity ensures proper cartilage hydration. Glucosamine (precursor of glycosaminoglycans, the principal components of articular cartilage) stimulates the regeneration of cartilage (especially promoting the synthesis of collagen).

Lab’s visual and cognitive capacities engendered by prudent selection

Whatever his function, the Lab always commits 110% of his powers. He is a disaster dog that works himself to exhaustion to rescue people all over the world. He can be trained to find explosives and drugs as he is able to distinguish 5,00,000 different odours. The average human recognises around 4,000 His size, endurance, character, intelligence and stability make him the ideal guide dog. He also has a proven track record as an assistance dog for people with motor disabilities. Guide dogs become the eyes of their masters, so it is essential that they possess acute twenty-twenty vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are present in the crystalline lens and the retina in significant quantities, protecting them against damage caused by oxidation. With an average life expectancy exceeding 12 years, the older Lab can develop some behavioural complaints. The synergic antioxidant complex helps maintain cognitive functions and plays a role in preventing senility.

Royal Canin’s Lab food

Royal Canin offers Labrador Retriever 30, which not only nourishes the coat but also protects the skin. It provides the building blocks the skin needs. With 30% high value biological proteins per ration, every meal provides dogs with all the ingredients essential to a healthy coat. It also helps in maintaining ideal weight by harmonising energy intake with lifestyle. It controls the energy content in food as it has ingredients they need to produce powerful muscles without excess fat. This food is available as a kibble with a shape and texture, which promotes the feeling of a full stomach. Its size forces the dog to chew, which encourages mechanical brushing of his teeth, combating the build-up of dental plaque.

It also relieves joints by controlling body weight and incorporating glucosamine and chondroitin. This Lab food also nourishes cartilage, combats inflammatory mechanisms and degenerative mechanisms stemming from oxidative stress.

The food also preserves visual and cognitive capacities by nourishing the crystalline lens and the retina as it is a source of lutein and zeaxanthin.

A well-balanced and nutritious food will make your Lab beautiful and proportionate.

Are you giving a nutritious diet to your dog?

There has been a lot of research in the field of veterinary nutrition to determine the role and most effective dose of nutrients essential to the health and well-being of animals. From mere survival, giving the minimum required for the animal to stay alive, the concept of diet was developed, making for more beautiful and active pets. Now, we have moved to the concept of nutrition including plant extracts, minerals, proteins, etc. Titanium Backup Pro APK downloadAlso, the needs of dogs depend on their age and size.
According to the market surveys, it has been seen that in the last 30 years, the food prepared by the major pet food manufacturers has had a positive effect on the living conditions of dogs. It is estimated that the life expectancy of dogs has increased by 3 years in the last 15 years.
Most often, we feed our pets on the diet which is very close to ours, forgetting that dogs are carnivores. The size and shape of a carnivore’s organs are very different from ours: jaws are mode for cutting and not chewing, no predigestion with saliva but a disproportionate stomach to digest preys swallowed in a gulp and very short bowels ill-suited to digesting most cereals.
Dogs swallow their foods without tasting it. The food reaches the stomach in the form of chunks. Digestion is fast and foodstuffs not adapted to a carnivorous diet are rejected in   large quantities. And here lies the need and importance of a nutritive diet for dogs.
A nutritive diet implies developing, sustaining and providing energy to the body, alongwith a preventive and curative dimension. It has been researched that proteins, minerals, trace elements, vitamins and lipids are essential for body development and maintenance while lipids and carbohydrates provide energy. Specific nutrients such as antioxidants, clays, etc act as preventive agents while certain nutrients have therapeutic or convalescence value, helping pets recover from a number of ailments.

Dog food can be formulated in two ways: nutritional and ingredients. The nutritional approach means combining in one single food a complex jigsaw of just the right amount of about fifty nutrients needed to satisfy the above four nutritional objectives. On the other hand, the ingredients approach merely consists of a simple list of visible elements entering into the composition of a food. A standard ingredient food consists of about 15 nutrients. Thus, a home-cooked food cannot provide all the nutrients needed for your pet’s health. Only a nutritional approach food can provide all the vital elements.
A balanced diet is readily available in the form of pet foods at your disposal. Select the right product according to your pet’s needs.

Royal Canin
Veterinary Diet range
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet range offers a new vision of veterinary dietetics: treat the animal as well as the disease. Each Veterinary Diet regime goes beyond the treatment of a specific pathology, taking into account the risks associated with individual diseases in order to integrate all the factors which help cure the animal. It comprises of 39 new products to meet most of the requirements of veterinarians’ clients to include 18 new dry foods, 18 new moist foods and 3 instant diets. It offers different diets for mobility support canine, obesity canine, hypoallergenic and synergistic antioxidant complex diet.
Royal Canin & the Waltham centre for pet nutrition have decided to pool their activities and expertise in pursuing the same objective : Improving health & longevity of dogs.